Independent Online

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Like us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterView weather by locationView market indicators

Over 680 000 South Africans queue for Covid jabs this week, as 4th wave circles and Omicron variant spreads

South Africa - Cape Town - 2 September 2021 - Faried Shariff gets his second jab. Cars queue at the launch of the drive-through component of the Athlone vaccine site of hope showcasing the accessibility aspect of the drive-through. This is the first drive-through vaccine site in the province, supporting the walk-through component of the vaccine site. Photographer: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)

South Africa - Cape Town - 2 September 2021 - Faried Shariff gets his second jab. Cars queue at the launch of the drive-through component of the Athlone vaccine site of hope showcasing the accessibility aspect of the drive-through. This is the first drive-through vaccine site in the province, supporting the walk-through component of the vaccine site. Photographer: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)

Published Dec 3, 2021

Share

CAPE TOWN – As news of the omicron variant and a fourth wave of Covid-19 infections looming reached the ears of South Africans, over 680 000 citizens went for their jabs this week.

According to the National Department of Health’s dashboard, from Sunday, November 28, until Thursday, December 2, a total 685 133 South Africans got their jabs.

Story continues below Advertisment

During this period of those vaccinated 55.72% were women and 44.73% were men.

This success came after President Cyril Rampaphosa called for those not vaccinated to go for their jabs as daily Covid-19 infections increased.

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) has reported Gauteng province to be the epicentre of the latest infections to hit the country.

The World Health Organization's chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan told the Reuters Next conference yesterday that while Omicron appeared to be very transmissible, the right response was to be prepared, cautious and not panic.

Much remains unknown about Omicron, which was first detected in southern Africa last month and has been spotted in at least two dozen countries. Parts of Europe were already grappling with a wave of infections of the Delta variant before it emerged.

Speaking to IOL, Professor Marc Mendelson, a professor of Infectious Diseases in the Division of Infectious Diseases & HIV Medicine at the University of Cape Town (UCT), has urged South Africans to get their jab.

Story continues below Advertisment

He said the type of variant doesn’t control whether or not people should go for the vaccine.

“The vaccines protect against severe Covid-19, needing to be hospitalised, and dying. That is what their primary function is and will continue to be, whether or not the omicron variant is able to cause more cases of mild-moderate Covid-19.

“Do not be side-tracked by variants and talk of ’will it, won’t it be more or less severe’. Vaccination is your greatest opportunity to protect yourself and your families,” Mendelson said.

Story continues below Advertisment

He explains the primary role of the vaccine is to curb fatalities and evidence from all countries with all variants shows that they are successful in doing just that.

“No vaccine is 100% effective, so deaths in vaccinated people will occur, but at a hugely reduced rate. Also bear in mind that over 8 billion Covid-19 vaccine doses have been administered worldwide and there have been no long-term ill effects found,” Mendelson said.

He has urged residents to get vaccinated immediately and those eligible for a booster dose to do so quickly.

Story continues below Advertisment

Mendelson has also urged residents to continue following the public health interventions by social distancing, wearing masks in public spaces, avoiding mass gatherings, avoid poorly ventilated venues, regular hand hygiene, and if you feel ill, get tested and isolate if positive.

In a bid to get more South Africans vaccinated, the National Department of Health has declared December 3 to 10, “Vooma Week” ahead of the festive break. During this period, all provinces have been requested to increase the number of vaccination sites, especially in travel hubs, shopping malls and recreational areas to get as many people as possible vaccinated in the face of the fourth wave.

“We want families to be safe this festive season. Before you go home, before you leave on vacation, make sure you protect yourself and those you love. If you visit your parents and they have not yet been vaccinated, go with them to your closest vaccination site. It could save their lives,” Minister of Health Joe Phaahla said.

He said there were still 4 million people in the 50 and older age bracket who have not been vaccinated and they are at high risk for severe illness and death.

Phaahla said the government is hoping to vaccinate at least 1 million people during Vooma Week.

[email protected]

IOL

Share